By David Pisarra
It has been a week since Donald Trump won the election to President of the United States which continues to send shock waves through the American republic. On Tuesday of last week I was driving around Florida listening to the soundtrack for Hamilton – it seemed fitting at the time, and even more so in retrospect. As a history lesson delivered by way of catchy tunes and rapid fire lyrics, it is a work of art.
Alexander Hamilton was a dynamo of a man. Author, patriot, and visionary, his tremendous contribution to the founding of the country and setting of the course we have been on, was little noticed until a Broadway stage play became the hottest ticket in town. Hamilton was quick with the wit, and a prodigious writer and reader. His devotion to the country he helped start was recorded in The Federalist Papers, a collection of 85 essays about the Constitution of which he wrote 51.
The play chronicles the crossing paths of Hamilton and Aaron Burr, the man who would kill Hamilton in a famous duel and thus tarnish his own name for all history. Burr and Hamilton were the best of frenemies – that weird cross breed of friend and enemy that lawyers are so adept at creating.
At first blush, when I was told that this is a rap based play, I was skeptical, but I put aside my preconceptions and began listening to the history of early America in a modern voice and found myself enthralled. My first thoughts and perceptions are so often wrong, as this election has so clearly proven to me.
I thought it inconceivable that a man who had held no political office or military experience would be elected by the American public – let alone as a Republican. Among the chattering classes at my gym, we had a young buck who was certain that Trump would win. As we would sit in the hot tub at the Loews and blithely indulge him feeling self assured that Secretary Clinton would win.
Again, my thoughts and perceptions were so very wrong. I was completely out of touch with a giant swath of the country. I recall the pain of the 2008 financial crisis, and have somewhat healed from it, but evidently many haven’t, or they have but forgot just how bad it was.
It is easy to try and lay blame for what many consider a stunning defeat at the feet of the women who didn’t vote for Hillary. I’ve been told that I’m wrong to think that women would vote for her just because she’s a woman; women don’t vote in blocks, just like blacks and latinos don’t vote in blocks for “their” candidate. Maybe that’s true. I could be mistaken in my thinking that since the majority in our country is female, they shouldn’t complain about not having women in positions of power, if they don’t vote for women when they have the opportunity.
Maybe it’s my male privilege that drives me to believe that there are men who voted for Trump just because he was a man, against a woman, even though she was admittedly more qualified. I know many women who hate Hillary, but it seems like this was an opportunity to advance the cause for all women, even if you didn’t like her.
All of which is irrelevant now, Donald J. Trump is our incoming President and for better or worse, I will respect the office. I am scared, I wanted a President who has experience on the global stage – I think it is crucial – I may be wrong. My thoughts and perceptions could be wrong again.
Mr. Trump now needs to step up and become the President, for no one enters that office ready, they just dive in and start swimming. I pray for his success as a leader with vision and compassion, with insight and the knowledge that the weight of the republic is on his shoulders now.
I pray that he has seen Hamilton, and realizes how important the job is that he has taken on. The republic will survive him, of that I am sure. The question is really how will he be remembered? Hamilton or Burr. The choice is his.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra